THOSE who say that the monarchy costs too much money do not offer any insight into the constitutional value or otherwise of the institution. Others say that hereditary appointment is undemocratic and should be abolished.

There may be a stronger argument, however, that the hereditary principle operates as a linchpin in our democracy.

The democratic election of a head of state because of its political nature is inherently divisive as seen spectacularly on January 6, 2021 in the United States when a mob of republican supporters attacked and almost overwhelmed the Capitol in an attempt to undo the outcome of a democratic election. In the United States democratic competition has evolved into visceral hatred and threatens the renewal of civil war.

The UK, however, has evolved an apolitical head of state which, as amply demonstrated by the Coronation ceremony, is open to all political leanings, to all faiths and to those of no faith and to anyone who likes a good shindig and provides an opportunity for the people to come together to celebrate a liberal democracy that is the envy of the world.

The survival of liberal democracy in our constitution is confirmed beyond all doubt by some of its most enthusiastic, if unintended, proponents, those football fans who regularly address the nation’s royalty by their own idiosyncratic banners and chants and those adherents to Scottish independence who convened their own separate rally in Glasgow while the nation at large celebrated the Coronation. How those fans and marchers must appreciate their liberty to entertain themselves in the manner that they chose.

Michael Sheridan, Glasgow.

Divisive use of language

MY wife and mother-in-law decided to watch at least part of the Coronation ceremony, simply because they had paid for it. They switched off after the Defender of the Faith had used the word "Protestant" three times.

Exactly how does he think this divisive, sectarian use of language is going to unite his imaginary kingdom? How many Catholics does he think bent the knee at this drivel?

I, unfortunately, caught an edited lowlight of the event as I unwittingly passed a television screening it. The sight of the Archbishop of Canterbury on his knees debasing himself and his church before an elderly billionaire made me shudder.

On the up side, I can report that when Charlie was getting his golden hat, my local Asda was doing a very brisk trade. Normal people doing normal stuff. I know. I was there.

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.

Trouble over the Anthem

RECENT letters (May 5 & 6) concerning the etiquette of standing for the National Anthem the anthem at the end of a film brought to mind a rather frightening occasion in Belfast in 1969 experienced by myself and two friends.

Working for a few weeks in Northern Ireland as young trainees, we decided on an evening at the cinema. As usual in Scotland and England, when the film ended and the Anthem started we did what we always did, make for the exit.

This was Belfast at the height of the Troubles. As we attempted to move along the row, eyes down to see the way, I became aware of a sudden tense atmosphere. Looking up we saw, in a large cinema, probably a thousand faces looking menacingly at us. That was enough in itself to stop us dead in our tracks, and dead we might well have been if we hadn't taken the hint.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Read more: A lot has changed since last a monarch was crowned

We need less anger, not more

COUNCILLOR Tom Johnston (Letters, May 6) wants to see more anger in the debate about Scotland’s future governance. I disagree: we need less anger in our debates, about independence and much else, not more. Anger seems to be the default condition these days.

Emotion only gets us so far. We need a rational debate about the advantages and disadvantages of self-government, and the risks and opportunities it would bring. The greatest disgrace in the UK today is the number of its citizens who can’t afford to feed themselves and their families, and can’t heat their homes to a comfortable level. Given the great wealth of the UK, on open display this weekend in Westminster Abbey, that’s something we should be ashamed of.

There are areas where I believe Scottish governments have got it wrong, but I give credit to the current SNP Government for the measures it has taken to tackle poverty, especially child poverty. I welcome Humza Yousaf’s commitment to continuing that good work, which will take many years to deliver results; but better slow progress than continuing with Tory measures that exacerbate the problem and Labour indifference to it. Progress could be faster, of course, if Scotland had fuller powers over its affairs.

Unlike many of your unionist correspondents, I have confidence in my fellow citizens here in Scotland that we can thrive as a self-governing country, with lower levels of inequality and in a comfortable relationship with our European neighbours, including those south of our border. Better to make the attempt than to resign ourselves to continuing decline as part of the UK.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

• HAVE SNP supporters learned nothing? Councillor Tom Johnston is calling for his party to “stoke national anger to win independence". The disastrous Sturgeon/Murrell regime was built on anger, it was built on division, blame, xenophobia and what happened? The First Minister and her cabal of incompetents could make no case for an economically sound independent Scotland and all they had was “anger” which has alienated the majority.

Clearly Mr Johnston might have to agree with Doug Maughan (Letters, May 3) that “a long hard slog” might be the best option; but wait, the SNP has been in existence for about 90 years when Arthur Donaldson was siding with the regime in Germany, that “long hard slog” has achieved nothing.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

We are well rid of Sturgeon

"NO-PLATFORMED" Joanna Cherry's very recent comment that the SNP is "intellectually dead from the neck up" and "afraid of debate" ("Cherry wry", Unspun, The Herald, May 6) dovetails with Tom Gordon's revelation that "Nicola Sturgeon spent almost £2 million of public money on a record 18 spin doctors in her last year as first minister" (The Herald, May 6).

Ms Sturgeon has been so bereft of ideas that she has hired spin doctors not to spin her ideas but, in desperation, to found ideas to spin. We are well rid of this impostor who has been no more than an eloquent presenter of the intellectual property of others.

William Durward, Bearsden.

Read more: Scottish independence: Hundreds take to Glasgow streets for indy march

Do they think before they speak?

THERE are times when I genuinely wonder if politicians ever think before they speak. With the SNP in crisis it was probably too tempting for some to start promoting their claims to be the rightful heirs to government, only to then fall foul of events.

A few months ago ex-Labour minister Brian Wilson opined in an article on the gender reform rebellion within the SNP that Labour unlike the SNP could accommodate a wide range of views within its ranks. But then a week later Sir Keir Starmer promptly does the opposite by sacking Jeremy Corbyn from the party simply because Mr Corbyn disputed the anti-Semitism claims made against him.

Next there was Gordon Brown claiming Glasgow could become a pharmaceutical and medical research powerhouse. Unfortunately just prior to making this claim Astra Zenica had announced it was quitting the UK for Ireland to build its new research centre there. This was followed shortly afterwards by Cancer Research UK reducing the scale of its Glasgow medical research centre in order to concentrate its activities in England.

Not to be outdone, Jackie Baillie stated at the Scottish Labour conference that if elected she will reform the Scottish NHS by cutting its management bureaucracy in order to concentrate resources on frontline staff. Really? Did she simply forget a conference speech made by Neil Kinnock in 1985, when he famously lambasted the folly of Labour politicians going round in taxis handing out redundancy notices to its own public sector workers?

The Conservatives as usual lag behind in the faux pas league. But their Scottish chairman Craig Hoy was doing his best to catch up recently. He denounced the SNP claiming it was riven with division which made it unsuitable to govern. But when asked about the differences within his own party he promptly commented that “there’s always a disagreement about strategy in any organisation that is actually probably quite healthy”. Aye right.

Meanwhile his Conservative colleague John Lamont announces that far from dealing with the cost of living crisis amongst his constituents, the Scottish Secretary Alastair Jack had decided instead to prioritise guarding the Stone of Destiny at Westminster. Yet are these not the very people who claim that the Scottish Government spends too much of its time on constitutional issues and is "not getting on with the issues that matter"?

I’m drowning in the hypocrisy.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.